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Stowe 1/12/2008 - Icy but not that icy

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
A note about "ice." People have argued about "ice" and "icy snow" for a long time. I was thinking, now this is real ice. We are tough here. Then I ran into some real ice downslope of a leaky snow gun hose. No, what we were skiing was mostly not ice. But it was pretty darn close, and I don't mind calling it that for storytelling purposes.

I was very glad I'm tuning my own skis now, cause if I had to take them in I wouldn't have had fresh edges.

We (me and a snowboarder) took the day bus trip to Stowe -- what a deal! Round trip plus lift ticket (and coffee and donuts) for less than the walk-up lift price. I had less than a ten minute drive to the pickup point. Plus having to catch the bus got me out the door earlier than I can seem to when driving to Vermont.

One pic shows the buses lined up in the Stowe parking lot.

New England had bad rain on Wednesday and more (not sure how bad) on Friday, so I was expecting the worst. Conditions were actually pretty good where they were making snow, and fun even where they were "interesting."

Our first run was off the Mansfield triple down one of the blues - conditions weren't too bad. Then a couple of runs down Liftline. It was icy but not un-edgable. 2nd photo is from near the top of Liftline.

After chatting with a few people on the lift we decided to go try the gondola, where they were pumping a lot of snow. All the open trails on that side had good snow with only a few icy patches. Conditions stayed good most of the day, though the churned up snow got a little grabby later (or maybe I just got tired). Next photo shows a class of miniature rippers headed down Gondolier (I think). About half the class are in frame, the rest are behind.

Conditions were pretty basic - a few moguls started towards the end, but not much. But after Liftline we said, "you know, it is nice to ski on actual snow." At this point I was thinking I was going to have to go back to the "Snow or Terrain?" thread and call myself a liar.

But about 2 pm, we decided the blues with snow were getting boring and decided to go look for something interesting in the ice.

It must have gotten above freezing at some point, cause Liftline was even icier than in the morning. My snowboarder did not have a fresh tune and could not get an edge in. He is a very good boarder, but he went down most of the way sitting with his board digging in in front of him. I discovered that turn shape was the only way to slow down - a full-on side skid did not stop me -- I had to point 'em down hill, get an edge in, and turn across to stop. It was a lot of fun. (Not so much for my friend.)

The other fun thing about Liftline was the not-as-recently groomed stuff to skier's right of the lift towers. It had a thin layer of ice over edgable icy-snow. (It was actually easier to stop in than the other side). When you skied across it, the surface ice fractured and skittered down the hill in a musical sluff. It was so cool I started doing it on purpose and then stopping to watch and listen.

The last run of the day we discovered Centerline actually had decent snow and some smallish moguls. We would have liked to do it again, but we weren't sure how serious the bus was about leaving on time, so we decided not to push it.

(Looking around, I don't think anything was closed that should have been open. There were a few blues that could have been with some work, but blues need to have a certain survivability level. The closed blacks I looked at had a lot of brown showing.)

It was a good day, and Stowe did an excellent job with challenging weather. And the bus is a deal.
post #2 of 3
Thread Starter 
And here are the buses, just because. I know its a boring thing to take a picture of, but I thought it was interesting how many there were. I never really noticed them before I rode on one. We were on the 2nd closest one.
post #3 of 3
Conditions look pretty good considering all the rain and the warm spell. It's raining here in central Joisey, but NOAA says 4-9" by tomorrow night. I've gone to Stowe twice years back and both times it was icy and foggy as he!!. It didn't help that I didn't know the mountain.
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